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API Integrations - Vrbo Common Issues & Questions

Our Channel Management feature is extremely powerful and can greatly simplify your channel advertising. Learn how it works by reading our Channel Management overview article.  The most powerful part of our Channel Management is the API Integrations we have with certain channel partners like Vrbo.

This article provides a list of common questions and answers for the Vrbo API integration that are not covered elsewhere.  This article assumes you have already connected the Vrbo API to OwnerRez.  If not, do that first.

Questions are added to this page if they are miscellaneous in nature and we have not already answered them in other Vrbo support articles.  Please read the Vrbo overview, connecting and rules & settings support articles for Vrbo before coming to this page as those articles cover the normal workflow.

Adding a new listing to Vrbo from OwnerRez

  1. Create the property in OwnerRez and make sure it is fully filled out with listing content (photos, amenities, rules, etc.) and that it has rates.  Read the Preparing to go API support doc where it talks about the tools to use for completeness.
  2. Modify your Vrbo API integration in OwnerRez to include the new property in the Vrbo property mappings.  Go to Settings > Channels >Vrbo API > change property mappings.  Click the "Included" checkbox, and Save your change.
  3. It will usually take a few hours or even overnight, but the new property will eventually show up on the Vrbo side after their system does a fresh pull.  If you don't see it, don't panic until tomorrow.
  4. Log in to your Vrbo dashboard.
  5. Navigate to "See properties list"
  6. Find your new property.  You may need to alter your Filter settings to show inactive and archived properties:
  7. Select “Review plan”:
  8. Choose from PPS (if an option), or PPB or Professional, pay the listing fee if applicable, and finish.
  9. Your new property should now be visible on Vrbo, and syncing with OwnerRez via the API like your other properties.
  10. Don't forget to enter the Vrbo property number in the appropriate field in Settings > API Integrations > Vrbo > Change Property Mappings, and also, in Settings > Identifier Mapping > Map Vrbo > Change Mappings.

Offering discounts that are valid only on certain months - it's not working right!

For Vrbo, discount criteria must be a range, because they can only match things that are inclusive not exclusive.  So instead of setting a list of months not allowed, set the range of months that are allowed.

If you specify a less than and a greater than, the range will wrap around the beginning of the year allowing you to target what you want.

My properties aren't syncing, and my Vrbo integration specialist says there's an error with OwnerRez

Whenever there is an error in sync between Vrbo and OwnerRez, there will be errors recorded in their log (that is, the Vrbo server log).  Their support staff is able to access this log and export the errors, usually in an Excel file.  Sometimes they do this without asking when they email you or us about the problem, or when you see a problem and call them to complain.

Either way, get them to produce this logfile, and send it to us at help@ownerreservations.com.  We can usually analyze it, figure out where the problem is, and tell you what to do.

I updated my property photos/descriptions in OwnerRez, but my changes aren't showing up on Vrbo

Yes - unfortunately, the Vrbo API doesn't update property listings instantly.  It can take as long as 48 hours before all changes are fully visible across their servers.

There is nothing OwnerRez or our staff can do to speed this up.  However, the Vrbo Integration Specialists can force an immediate full update of one of your properties from their end, if you ask them to.

Some of my photos from OwnerRez aren't showing up in Vrbo, or sometimes they change even when I haven't changed them in OwnerRez.

Vrbo has a feature which allows users to archive photos. On occasion, photos will be archived without the user being aware. If your photos aren't showing properly, log in to Vrbo, go to your owner dashboard, select the property in question, choose "edit property", then select photos. At the top of the photo page, check to see if there's the word "Archive" with a number beside it.  That will show you the photos which have been archived.  And remember, Vrbo only displays 50 photos per listing.

How long do availability/rate updates take to show up on Vrbo?

Once your account is live, we will push availability and rate updates in about 20 minutes after you finish making changes in OwnerRez. Additionally, availability is checked instantly just before booking so there is no risk of a double booking against the information in OwnerRez.

Content changes like photos/descriptions can take up to 48 hours for Vrbo to pull updates (see above), but we are able to push rate/availability changes quickly.

If your account isn't live yet, ask your Vrbo Integration Specialists -- they can force an immediate full update of rates/availability.

What is this "Price Consistency" thing and does the API support it?

You may have seen a worrying post on Vrbo's website, saying that "Price Consistency" is now a requirement for a good ranking.

First: this only applies to API connections. If you are not using our Vrbo API, it's entirely irrelevant.

Second: OwnerRez's API connection fully supports their requirements.

Historically, Vrbo's API didn't have a way to define rules-based fees and rates, so what would happen is that you'd set some approximate rates.  Then, when the guest went to actually book, Vrbo would call the OwnerRez API, get a specific quote, and then display that to the guest -- so it might be different than the initial price the guest was displayed.

Now, with Price Consistency, we send all of the rules for all rates, surcharges, discounts, taxes, etc. to Vrbo. They will evaluate those and display the correct price to the guest, and then they send us the list of charges for the booking. That way everything is exactly what the guest saw on Vrbo instead of having an intermediate quote through OwnerRez which might be different.

In fact, that's actually the only mode we support for Vrbo API now.  So you don't need to worry, you're compliant, and your property ranking will not be harmed.

My guests would like to use Discover cards to book via Vrbo, and my credit card processor accepts Discover, is that OK?

No, sorry!  It doesn't matter that your credit card processor accepts Discover, and that you are using the Vrbo API so the credit card information is passed back to OwnerRez.  Vrbo charges your guests' credit card separately for their handling fee, and since they don't do Discover, they don't let you accept it either even if you can.

How do I do weekly/monthly rates and have them available in Vrbo?

Generally, Vrbo doesn't support weekly/monthly type rates. Instead they support length-of-stay discounts.

If you do not have weekly/monthly rates, just use LOS discounts and leave it at that, they'll work in Vrbo and in your direct bookings.

If you already have weekly and/or monthly rates and are configuring the Vrbo API, you have two recommended approaches:

  1. Make the length-of-stay discounts only apply to Vrbo, by setting the Listing Site criteria on the discount to "only Vrbo". That way direct bookings will remain using the weekly/monthly rates you have set in your Seasonal Rates, and Vrbo will use the LOS discount.
  2. Use length-of-stay discounts everywhere, and remove all weekly or monthly rates from your Seasonal Rates.

WARNING: make sure you don't have both weekly/monthly rates and LOS discounts applying to direct bookings!  If you do, both discounts will be applied - they will stack, and your direct-booking guests will get a super double discount. They'll be happy but you, not so much.

What if I disable a property?

There are several different elements involved in disabling a property:

  • If you "Disable" a property in OwnerRez from the Properties area, the property listing in Vrbo will not be disabled.  The API will continue to try to update information from OwnerRez, but won't get any.  This will lead to wrong information being displayed to guests on Vrbo's website; you'll also still be charged for your listing there.  Don't do this!
  • If you "Disable" a property in OwnerRez from the Properties area, and also disable/inactivate/delist the property from Vrbo's website, the property will effectively disappear.  This is the correct solution for when you sell a property or otherwise aren't renting it anymore.
  • If you uncheck the "Active" checkbox in the API Connections "Change Settings" screen, then both your OwnerRez property and your Vrbo listing are unaffected - they just aren't syncing automatically anymore using the API.  This is what you do if you've decided that you don't want to use the Vrbo API for that property anymore, or if you are removing the listing from Vrbo but keeping it active in OwnerRez.
  • If you are wanting to temporarily disable a property - don't do that this way.  Instead, create a Block for the appropriate time period in the OwnerRez calendar.  This will prevent bookings during the relevant time, but keep the listings active and up-to-date otherwise.
  • You can also HIDE or Archive a property on your Vrbo dashboard.  This will cause it not to be visible on Vrbo's website.  It will have no effect in OwnerRez, and all API syncing will still take place.  This is the best method if you are not wanting to accept bookings from Vrbo for a while, but want everything else to continue to operate normally.
  • You may need to Unarchive the property at a later time when you want it visible again:

I want to make some Cleaning surcharges taxable, and others not.

You can't.  Vrbo supports taxability for surcharges, but only on a category level, not down to an individual surcharge.  So if any cleaning fees are taxable, then all will be.

The guest's credit card was declined so no payment was made, why is the booking still showing on my calendar?

When a guest's credit card is declined, we return an error message to them to give them a chance to fix the problem.  The booking is held in a "pending" state for 24 hours.  It does block your calendar during that time in the hopes that the guest will pay.

If the guest fixes the problem or provides another credit card, all is well and the booking proceeds normally.

If the 24 hours expires and the guest has not paid, the booking is automatically canceled.  OwnerRez informs Vrbo of what happened via the API, and the booking is canceled there as well.  Vrbo considers a case of nonpayment to be a "traveler cancellation" event, which does not count against you as a host.

I canceled a booking, but it's still showing active on Vrbo

Cancellations can take a few hours (or even a full day) to pick up by the Vrbo side. It's not a push-based immediate update -- instead it's a once a day process where they pull booking status from OwnerRez.

If you're worried about double bookings, that won't happen because Vrbo checks our system live before anyone books to get the latest rates, rules and availability. But you have to wait on cancellations to get picked up.

If it's still showing as active after a couple days, reach out to the Vrbo PM team and ask them to take a look. Or send in a help ticket with the booking # we'll look to see if something is wrong in OwnerRez.

My Vrbo listing is displaying old "Additional information about rental rates."

This is a known bug where Vrbo displays "rate notes" from years ago on the listing for some reason -- even though those notes are not in the API feed from OwnerRez.  They cannot be removed by OwnerRez, or from your Vrbo control panel.  You need to talk to Vrbo support and ask for their assistance in getting them removed.

I used to have a refundable damage deposit configured in Vrbo before I turned on the OwnerRez API, what happened to that?

For bookings that existed before you connected the API, your refundable damage deposit (RDD) hasn't changed.  It still exists, and is handled by Vrbo, just like it was before.

For new bookings that came over the API connection, RDDs is not the best way, and your RDD configuration in Vrbo will be turned off and/or ignored.  Instead, you should use security deposit holds.  If you have already configured security deposit holds for your properties, they'll automatically be enforced for Vrbo bookings now too.  If not, we recommend doing so.

How do I get my Refundable Damage Deposit to be displayed on Vrbo to my guests?

We do not recommend using an RDD.  Since the Vrbo API sends OwnerRez the guest's credit card information, you can use a Security Deposit Hold, which is automated and is more convenient both for you and your guests.

However, if you want to use refundable damage deposits with the Vrbo API, make sure that the Surcharge you create has the word "Refundable" in it.  This will be detected by Vrbo, and it will be displayed to prospective guests as an RDD.

Why is my Security Deposit showing up as a Stay Collected Fee RDD?

Vrbo doesn't have the concept of a security deposit hold. The closest thing is a stay collected refundable damage deposit, so that's how we show the secdep hold. That will show on the guest invoice (so they are not surprised by the hold) and it does not show in the subtotal or payments due to the guest so it doesn't inflate the numbers.

If you want to put the information about the secdep hold and amount in your house rules instead of having it show up as a separate fee, do that and then pick the "Don't show in Vrbo guest charges" option on the Vrbo channel settings in OwnerRez.

You can find full instructions here.

The property calendar in my owner dashboard is blank/wrong!

Ignore it! When you are using the API connection, OwnerRez is your master calendar. The Vrbo control panel display is not updated correctly and is often wrong or blank.

Don't worry, the calendar display that is shown to guests will be correct.  Go check it out - if you see a problem there, then it's time to let us know so we can figure out the problem.

I'm using the API, do I still have to use Channel Bridge?

Probably...

The Vrbo API only supports new bookings that are created after the API has been turned on.  It does nothing for pre-existing bookings.

So, if you are creating a brand-new Vrbo account and API connection that never had any bookings before, you won't need to use Channel Bridge.

If you already had the account and bookings, though, and are now moving over to the API, you'll need to continue to run Channel Bridge regularly to keep your pre-existing bookings properly updated.  You'll also need to keep the iCal calendar imports from Vrbo.  You won't need to export your calendar to Vrbo, though, the API will take care of that.

Eventually, your old bookings will have come and gone, and you'll have nothing left but API bookings.  At that time, you can stop using Channel Bridge for bookings.  We recommend still keeping the Vrbo calendar imports, as a backup for certain known glitches with the API connection.

You'll still need to use Channel Bridge if you want to bring your guest reviews from Vrbo into OwnerRez, but that's it.

How do Vrbo's channel fees get paid?

If you are using the Subscription listing mode, then there are two types of fees:

  • Your annual listing fee, which is charged by Vrbo to your credit card for each listing on its anniversary date.  This fee is not visible in OwnerRez.
  • A booking fee, which is charged to your guest.  OwnerRez will display this amount in the Charges tab of each Booking, but it is not included in the main Charges area because it's money you never see.  The charge is placed on the guest's credit card by Vrbo directly; you are not responsible for or involved in this transaction.

If you are using the Pay-Per-Booking listing mode, then there are also two types of fees:

  • A commission percentage is charged to you per booking.  This fee is charged by Vrbo to your credit card at the time the booking is made, and is not visible in OwnerRez.
  • A booking fee, which is charged to your guest.  OwnerRez will display this amount in the Charges tab of each Booking, but it is not included in the main Charges area because it's money you never see.  The charge is placed on the guest's credit card by Vrbo directly; you are not responsible for or involved in this transaction.

Note that the API provides the amount of the booking fee that was charged to your guest, and displays this at the bottom of the Charges tab of a Booking, even though this is money you never see and aren't involved in.

The API does not provide OwnerRez the amounts charged for either your annual listing fees, or your Pay-Per-Booking commission amount, so this information is not available to OwnerRez and thus is not displayed anywhere.  You should receive invoices and statements fromVrbo detailing these charges.

Since, when using the API, you are doing your own payment processing, Vrbo will no longer charge a processing fee for your bookings.

How do I disable/hide a property listing on Vrbo using the API?

It is not possible to disable/hide a property listing on Vrbo using the OwnerRez API.  If you want to disable or hide a property listing on Vrbo's site, you have to do that in your Vrbo control panel as described in their support documentation.

How do I get historical data for my past Vrbo bookings into OwnerRez?

The Vrbo API connection only handles information for bookings created after the API is activated.  It does nothing for previous or historical bookings.

Data for your historical or pre-existing bookings can be imported using Channel Bridge.

I thought I got a booking, but there's this scary "booking request" countdown showing for it in my Vrbo control panel!

Ignore it!  No, seriously - Vrbo does, and so can you.  Since you're using the OwnerRez API, the countdown clock won't ding you when it runs out.  Someday, the control panel will get smarter and won't show you this meaningless but frightening display.

What happens when I modify dates or charges in OwnerRez for an API booking?

This information is transmitted back to Vrbo and used to update their calendar, and the guest's status display.

  • If you are using a PPB payment plan, then your PPB fees for the booking will reflect any pricing changes you make in OwnerRez.
  • If you are using a Subscription, there will be no effect on your fees.
  • There is no effect on the service fees charged to the guest by Vrbo.

How can I configure surcharges that will be displayed in Vrbo?

The details of how to do this are discussed in a separate document over here.

How can I control whether I display my property's exact location or not?

In the Vrbo dashboard, there is an option to "Display my property's location" which looks like this:

If that is unchecked, the location will be shown as an approximate area and possibly in the wrong time zone or city.

You can make sure this is checked, from the OwnerRez side, by going to the Vrbo API settings in OwnerRez and changing the Map Location option to Exact instead of Approximate like so:

Do not attempt to check the box directly in Vrbo or it will be overwritten (back to empty) every 24 hours or so when OwnerRez updates Vrbo through the API.  It must be set on the OwnerRez side.

I want to accept same-day bookings.

Too bad - as a matter of corporate policy, Vrbo does not allow that. Your guests would have to book direct via your website, or via Airbnb, which does allow same-day bookings.

Where are PPB (Pay Per Booking) host fees recorded?

If your Vrbo listings are billed as PPB (pay per booking) instead of an annual subscription, Vrbo will send you a monthly invoice showing the list of bookings and the commission they charge.  This is like the host fee from Airbnb.  Currently, there is no way to have each fee automatically recorded on the booking.  However, you can manually record them yourself under each booking's > Transactions tab > Fees grid (toward the bottom) so that you can track each one against a specific booking.

What happens to my existing and old bookings when I connect to the API?

Normally, nothing - they stay just as they were before, and will continue to be handled by Vrbo just as if you'd never hooked up the API.  These are called "platform" bookings. The API handles only new bookings.

This also includes payments - Vrbo will continue to collect any payments that are still due on pre-API "platform" bookings.

Glitch Warning

We have seen situations in which Vrbo fails to collect payments due on pre-API "platform" bookings.  If this happens, reach out to Vrbo tech support to confirm that they will not be collecting the payment due.  Once this is confirmed, you can collect the payment due directly from the guest, using the Request Payment dropdown button on the Transaction tab of their Booking.

Because pre-API "platform" bookings are not handled via the API, you need to continue to run Channel Bridge to bring in updated data for them.

Vrbo sent me this scary email saying I was getting StayCollectedFeeSchedules errors.

These can be ignored and are normal. The Vrbo system throws a warning if the stay collected fee schedule section is empty, but there's no way to clear stay collected fees other than passing an empty stay collected fee section.

Notice that the warning only applies to the StayCollectedFees section (since you don't have any). Normally, the warning email mentions that the Lodging Rate is a success - which is what matters.

Now that I'm using the API, why aren't Vrbo inquiries appearing in OwnerRez?

We do not recommend using OwnerRez to handle Vrbo inquiries at this time.  It's better communicating with your Vrbo guests using Vrbo's internal messaging tools until they make a booking.  Let OwnerRez take over only after the guest has booked.

It is possible to configure Vrbo to send inquiries into OwnerRez.  You'll need to set up a secondary email for inquiries in Vrbo as described in their support docs here.  For the secondary email, use the unique email address for your entire account displayed on this page in your OwnerRez account.

However, this isn't going to be as helpful as you might suppose.  Vrbo doesn't pass us the real guest email address until they have made an actual booking.  And, their proxy email addresses filter out all identifying information and links.  Since OwnerRez is designed to reply to inquiries with a quote and link to complete the booking, this all gets stripped out, so the default responses are useless.

At present, it is not possible to provide a custom quote for Vrbo guests as explained here under Restrictions.  Guests must book at the rates displayed on Vrbo.  You can, however, promise them a discount via Vrbo's messaging tools, and then manually adjust the Charges in their Booking once they've made it.

We are actively working with Vrbo to improve the capabilities in this area.

Can I use Vrbo's MarketMaker pricing service with the API?

At present, Vrbo's MarketMaker is not compatible with the API connection. This capability may be added in the future. For now, you'll need to look into the other dynamic pricing systems that integrate with OwnerRez.

Vrbo offers a 20% off discount for the first 3 bookings on a new listing. How do I turn that on?

Look for the "Actions" menu for each property on the API Integration page:

Select "New Listing Discount" to check your eligibility and/or enroll in the New Listing discount.

My Vrbo control panel says my API bookings are unpaid, but OwnerRez shows payments collected.

Yes - ignore your Vrbo control panel regarding the status of API bookings.

API Errors

Particularly when setting up an API connection for the first time, or pushing a new property listing to Vrbo via the API, you can encounter cryptic errors.  Here is a list of the ones we've encountered and how to resolve them.

Reverse Geocode Country Failure

This means that Vrbo's cross check on the lat/lng vs. address is throwing up an error on their side where they don't think the location coordinates on the listing -- latitude/longitude -- matches the address.  This is a pretty common issue with non-US countries, but can happen anywhere if the global address database is inaccurate.

Double-check the lat/lng and address. If they're correct, contact Vrbo IPM tech support for assistance in overriding the error.

Street Digit Missing

This indicates that Vrbo thinks your address is in an incorrect format and is wrong.  Double-check your address.  If you're sure it's correct and complete, contact Vrbo IPM tech support for assistance in overriding the error.

The content of element 'address' is not complete

This may refer to different elements of the address, like city or postal code, but they all stem from the same issue: Vrbo requires every element of the address except for Street 2 to be populated. The required fields are: Country, Street 1, City, State (or Province for non-US), Zip (or Postal Code for non-US).

OwnerRez validates US addresses but because international addresses can have different formats, we don't require a certain format for them.

However, Vrbo does require international addresses contain all of those components -- so make sure that province and postal code are populated.